Study Finds Listening To MP3s Is Making You Sadder

Written by Mike Hohnen on 7th December, 2016

Study Finds Listening To MP3s Is Making You Sadder

Music has been a safe haven from the cruel reality of life since the first organised noises were made. However, science has checked in with the music community for the first time in a while, with a new study suggesting that listening to MP3s or lower-quality recordings might actually be adding to our low moments, rather than distracting us from them.

Certain instruments impacting on our timbral and emotional characteristics is nothing new, however the Audio Engineering Library (Via WhatHIFI) has discovered that the more an instrument is compressed, the less impact it has. In fact, the findings go as far as to suggest that compression adds to neutral and negative emotional characteristics (mysterious, shy, scary and sad) while detracting from positive ones (happy, heroic, romantic, comic and calm).

So, if you find someone else’s music is dramatically plummeting your mood, you can now quote science and tell them their music needs to change on account of it’s low-quality. Easy.

The study was titled The Effects of MP3 Compression on Perceived Emotional Characteristics in Musical Instruments and tested the impact of compressed and uncompressed music over a variety of bitrates and formats over 10 emotional categories.

It was also discovered that compression has no impact on anger. The Audio Engineering Library attributed this to the fact that sounds such as growls are largely unaffected by compression.

So, next time you’re struggling to get the vibe going, just remember – WAVs only.

Watch: Layne Mitchell Analyses The Difference Between WAV And MP3 Files


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